See more synonyms for diminish on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object)
  1. to make or cause to seem smaller, less, less important, etc.; lessen; reduce.
  2. Architecture. to give (a column) a form tapering inward from bottom to top.
  3. Music. to make (an interval) smaller by a chromatic half step than the corresponding perfect or minor interval.
  4. to detract from the authority, honor, stature, or reputation of; disparage.
verb (used without object)
  1. to lessen; decrease.

Origin of diminish

1400–50; late Middle English; blend of diminuen (< Anglo-French diminuer < Medieval Latin dīminuere for Latin dēminuere to make smaller) and minishen minish
Related formsdi·min·ish·a·ble, adjectivedi·min·ish·ment, nounnon·di·min·ish·ing, adjectivepre·di·min·ish, verb (used with object)pre·di·min·ish·ment, nounun·di·min·ish·a·ble, adjectiveun·di·min·ish·a·ble·ness, nounun·di·min·ish·a·bly, adverbun·di·min·ished, adjectiveun·di·min·ish·ing, adjective

Synonym study

5. See decrease.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for diminished

Contemporary Examples of diminished

Historical Examples of diminished

  • She felt weak and diminished, small, like a very little child.

  • Her establishment was not only diminished, but her servants reduced to half-pay.


    Edward J. Dent

  • Her satisfaction would have diminished could she have read his mind.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • All this time, my taste for ships rather increased than diminished.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • Everybody ought to go to meeting; but the dividends must not be diminished.

British Dictionary definitions for diminished


  1. reduced or lessened; made smaller
  2. music denoting any minor or perfect interval reduced by a semitone
  3. music denoting a triad consisting of the root plus a minor third and a diminished fifth
  4. music (postpositive) (esp in jazz or pop music) denoting a diminished seventh chord having as its root the note specifiedB diminished


  1. to make or become smaller, fewer, or less
  2. (tr) architect to cause (a column, etc) to taper
  3. (tr) music to decrease (a minor or perfect interval) by a semitone
  4. to belittle or be belittled; reduce in authority, status, etc; depreciate
Derived Formsdiminishable, adjectivediminishingly, adverbdiminishment, noun

Word Origin for diminish

C15: blend of diminuen to lessen (from Latin dēminuere to make smaller, from minuere to reduce) + archaic minish to lessen
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for diminished



early 15c., from merger of two obsolete verbs, diminue and minish. Diminue is from Old French diminuer "make small," from Latin diminuere "break into small pieces," variant of deminuere "lessen, diminish," from de- "completely" + minuere "make small" (see minus).

Minish is from Old French menuisier, from Latin minuere. Related: Diminished; diminishes; diminishing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper